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WEEK 29

Courage

Each powerful surge is my body's way of bringing my baby closer to me.

WEEK 29

I will seek the qualities of a warrior in this practice; perseverance, endurance, confidence and courage.

This final chapter of my pregnancy is one of rapid growth for you and I find comfort in seeing my belly expand, knowing that you are putting on weight and getting stronger in preparation for your life outside my womb.

Your skeletal system continues to harden and lengthen. Your muscles are strengthening with your repetitive and dynamic movements and your head is growing in proportion to your maturing brain.

My belly is clearly rounded now, expanding from underneath my ribcage to my pubis. Some days I feel energetic like you, and other days I feel breathless and fatigued.

Sometimes my digestion feels a little sluggish and I get constipated. I remember the practice of Prasarita Padottanasana from the beginning of the second trimester, which can help to get things moving again (see page 46).

Sporadically I experience feelings of tightening or squeezing across my abdomen. These are known as Braxton Hicks contractions. This is my uterus contracting, rehearsing for our big day.

When I feel one of these early contractions, I imagine giving you a gentle hug from the inside. I wonder if you feel it too as you now are more sensitive to everything happening around you.

BENEFITS: Virabhadrasana II stretches the hamstrings, hips and calves; strengthens the thighs and lengthens the spine.

CAUTIONS: It is advised that I do not practise deep or unsupported squats after week 34 of my pregnancy or once my baby is engaged.

I can continue to practise this pose by straddling a chair with my right sitting bone and the top of my right thigh resting on the seat of the chair, then repeating the pose to my other side. I will avoid this pose if I have pelvic girdle discomfort.

MODIFICATIONS: If I have high blood pressure it is advised that I practise this pose with my hands on my hips.

Intention

This week, I will use my breath as an instrumental key.

On an inhalation I will invite myself to step inside and open the doors to faith, patience, endurance and courage.

On an exhalation I will unlock any tension, worries or fears I may be holding onto.

Using my breath I will soften, relax and surrender, and visualize the birth-day I desire.

Asana for the Week

Virabhadrasana II - Warrior 2

For this pose I will need a yoga mat and a wall or a chair.

Placing my yoga mat against a wall, I take a wide stance with my feet facing forward and parallel to each other. I feel the support of the wall behind me.

I turn my right foot out, aligning my right heel with the middle of the arch of my left foot.

I wrap my arms around you and check that both of my hips are facing into the center of the room.

Feeling my expanding belly I instinctively look down at you and smile.

I take a breath.

Inhaling, I raise my arms up and out to the side so they are in line with my shoulders. I look out towards my right fingers.

Exhaling, I bend my right knee, stacking it directly above my ankles, and aligning it with my second and third toes.

While in this pose I think of the structure of my body and the strength of my muscles holding me here and I think of you.

I feel bold, strong and courageous like a warrior, as I begin to prepare myself mentally for your birth.

Staying for three breaths, I mindfully repeat this week's affirmation:

Each powerful surge is my body's way of bringing my baby closer to me.

I repeat the pose to my other side.

WEEK 29

Reflection

Committed to a fearless and positive attitude towards the birth of my baby, this week's practice was an expression of our resounding strength, determination and courage.

NAMASTÉ

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